Obrazy na stronie

woman." Sir Sidney Smith, who was present, begged her pardon, asserted it was not so, and wished to stop her, but she contradicted him, and entered into all she knew of the private history of the Duchess's mother, saying, "she was literally a common washerwoman, and the Dachess need not to take so much pains and not expose her skin to the open air, when her mother had been in it all the day long." When she was gone, Sir John was very much disgusted, and said, her conversation bad been so low and ill-judged, and so much below her, that he was perfectly ashamed of ker, and she disgraced her station. Sir Sidney Smith agreed, and confessed he was astonished, for it must be confessed she was not deserving of her station. After the Duke of Kent had been so kind as to come and take leave of her, before he last left England, upon the day I mentioned, she delivered her critique upon his Royal Highness, saying-" He had the manners of a Prince, but was a disagreeable man, and not to be trusted, and that his Majesty had told him, 'Now, Sir, when you go to Gibraltar, do not make such a trade of it as you did when you went to Halifax.'" The Princess repeated, 66 upon nry honour it is true; the King said, 'do not make such a trade of it." She went on to say, "the Prince at first ordered them all to keep away, but they came now sometimes; however, they are no loss, for there is not a man among them all whom any one can make their friend."

kind of things. After this we often met, and the Princess often alluded to her situation and to mine, and one day as we were sitting together upon the sofa, she put her hand upon her stomach, and said, laughing, "Well, here we sit like Mary and Elizabeth, in the Bible." When she was bled, she used always to press me to be bled, and used to be quite angry that I would not, and whatever she thought good for herself, always recommended to me. Her Royal Highness now took every occasion to estrange me from Sir John, by laughing at him, and wondering how I could be content with him; urged me constantly to keep my own room, and not to continue to sleep with him, and said, if I had any more children she would have nothing more to say to me. Her design was evident, and easily seen through, and consequently averted. She naturally wished to keep us apart, lest in a moment of confidence I should repeat what she had divulged, and if she had estranged me from my husband, she kept me to herself. I took especial care, therefore, that my regard for him should not be undermined. I never told him her situation, and, contrary to her wishes, Sir John and I remained upon the same happy terms we always had.

It will scarcely be credited (nevertheless it is strictly true, and those who were present must avow it, or perjure themselves), what liberty the Princess gave both to her thoughts and her tongue, in respect to every part of the Royal Family. It was disgusting to us beyond the power of language to describe, and upon such occasions we always believed and hoped she could not be aware of what she was talking about, otherwise common family affection, common sense, and common policy, would have kept her silent. She said before the two Fitzgeralds, Sir Sidney Smith, and ourselves, that when Mr. Addington had his house given him, his Majesty did not know what he was about, and waved her hand round and round her head, laughing, and saying, "Certainly he did not; but the Queen got twenty thousand, so that was all very well.", We were all at a loss, and no one said any thing. This was at my own house one morning; the rest of the morning passed in abusing Mr. Adding-bridge ton (now Lord Sidmouth), and her critiques upon him closed by saying, "It was not much wonder a peace was not lasting, when it was made by the son of a quack doctor." Before Miss Hamond, one evening at my house, she said, "Prince William is going to Russia, and there is to be a grand alliance with a Russian Princess, but it is not very likely a Russian Princess will marry the grandson of a washer

As I was with the Princess one morning in her garden-house, his Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland waited upon her. As soon as he was gone she said, "he was a foolish boy, and had been asking her a thousand foolish questions." She then told me every word of his secrets, which he had been telling her; in particular, a long story of Miss Keppel, and that he said, the old woman left them together, and wanted to take him in, and therefore he had cut the connexion. She said she liked his countenance best, but she could trace a little family likeness to herself; but for all the rest they were very ill-made, and had plumb-pudding faces, which she could not bear. His Royal Highness the Duke of Camwas next ridiculed. She said, "he looked exactly like a serjeant, and so vulgar with his ears full of powder." This was her Royal Highness's usual and favourite mode of amusing herself and her company. The conversation was always about men, praising the English men, reviling all English women, as being the ugliest creatures in the world, and the worst, and always engaged in some project or other, as the impulse of the moment might

prompt, without regard to consequences or ap pearances. Whether she amused other people in the same way, I know not, but she chose to relate to me every private circumstance she knew relative to every part of the Royal Family, and also every thing relative to her own with such strange anecdotes, and circumstantial accounts of things that never are talked of, that I again repeat, I hope I shall never hear again; and I remember once in my lyingin-room, she gave such an account of Lady Aune Wyndham's marriage, and all her husband said on the occasion, that Mrs. Fitzgerald sent her daughter out of the room, while her Royal Highness finished her story.

Such was the person we found her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, and as we continued to see her character and faults, Sir John and myself more and more, daily and hourly, regretted that the world could not see her as we did, and that his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales should have lost any pɩpularity, when, from her own account (the only account we ever had) she was the aggressor from the beginning, herself alone; and I, as an humble individual, declare, that from the most heartfelt and unfeigned conviction, that I believe if any other married woman had acted as her Royal Highness had done, I never yet have known a man who could have endured it; and her temper is so tyrannical, capricious, and furious, that no man on earth will ever bear it; and, in private life, any woman who had thus played and sported with her husband's comfort and her husband's popularity, would have been turned out of her house, or left by herself in it, and would deservedly have forfeited her place in society. I therefore again beg leave to repeat, from the conviction of my own unbiassed understanding, and the conviction of my own eyes, no human being could live with her, excepting her servants for their wages; and any poor unfortunate woman, like the Fitzgeralds, for their dinner; and I trust and hope her real character will some time or another be displayed, that the people of this country may not be imposed upon.

The Princess was now sometimes kind and at others churlish, especially if I would not fall into her plans of ridiculing Sir John. About this time, one day at table with her, she began abusing Lady Rumbold (whom she had invited to see her a few days before, to give her letters of recommendation, if she went to Brunswick), and as the abuse was in the usual violent vulgar style, and I had never seen Lady Rumbold but that one morning when she was her Royal Highness's guest, and cared nothing about her, I did not

join in reviling her and Miss Rumbold. Sir Sidney Smith was present, and as there appeared a great friendship between the Rumbolds and him, I thought it not civil to him to say any thing, and one always conceives, in being quite silent, one must be safe from offending any party. I was, however, mistaken; for, observing me quite silent, she looked at me in a dreadful passion, and said, "Why don't you speak, Lady Douglas? I know you think her ugly as well as us—a vulgar common milliner; Lord Heavens! that she was; and her daughter looks just like a girl that walks up the street." I suppose she expected by this thundering appeal, to force me to join in the abuse; but it had a contrary effect upon me. I chose to judge entirely for myself, and I was determined I would not: therefore, when she had raved until she could go on no longer, I said I did not think her ugly; it was a harsh term.-I thought her manner very bad, and that she was very ill dressed: but when young, I thought she must have been a pretty woman. This was past her power of enduring, which I really did not know, or I would have remained silent. She fixed her eyes furiously upon me, and bawled out, "Then you're a liar, you're a liar, and the little child you're going to have will be a liar." I pushed my plate from me, eat no more, and remained silent, and my first impulse was to push back my chair and quit the house, but the idea that I should break up the party from table, and make a confusion, and also my not being able to walk home, and my carriage not being ordered until night, left me in my chair. The conversation was changed; at last Sir Sidney said again, "Well, these ladies have had a severe trimming, they had better not have come to Blackheath; and there sits poor Lady Douglas, looking as if she were going to be executed." As I was very far advanced in my pregnancy, it agitated me greatly, and I remained aloof and very shy all the evening. When I afterwards wrote to Sir Sidney Smith for Sir John, upon some common occurrence, I said, "I do not like the Princess's mode of treating her guests; her calling me a liar was an unpardonable thing, and if she ever speaks upon the subject to you, pray tell her I did not like it, and that if I had been a man, I would have rather died than have endured it; that it is a thing which never, by any chance, occurs to a lady; on a repetition of it I will give up her acquaintance." It seems Sir Sidney Smith spoke to the Princess on the subject; for two days before I was confined, she made me a morning visit with the two Fitzgeralds, and, after having sat a short time, said, "[

find you were very much affrouted the other, the party. He wrote that I had a head ache, day at my house, when I called you a liar; and begged leave to remain at home, and the I declare I did not mean it as an affrout; Princess believed it, and went to town; but Lord Heavens! in any other language it is upon her return, at five o'clock in the afterconsidered a joke; is it not, Mrs. Fitzgerald?" noon, she called before she went home to dress, meaning that in Germany it is a very good to ask after me, and finding how it was, wantjoke to call people liars (for Mrs. Fitzgeralded to run up into the room, but Doctor Mackie

said positively she should not come, and locked the door nearest him to keep her out. Miss Cholmondely and Miss Fitzgerald were drove home, and her Royal Highness and Mrs. Fitzgerald stopped. Upon my giving a loud shriek she flew in at the other dcor, and came to me, doing every thing she possibly could to assist me, and held my eyes and head. The moment she heard the child's voice she left me, flew round to Doctor Mackie, pushed the nurse away, and received the child from Doctor Mackie, kissed it, and said no one should touch it until she had shewn it to me. Doctor Mackie was so confused and astonished, that, although an old practitioner, he left the room, without giving me any thing to re

does not know any language but German and
English); Mrs. Fitzgerald absolutely said, yes.
They made me very nervous, and I burst into
tears, and told the Princess I only wished her
to understand such a thing was never done,
and was far from desiring her to apologize to
me; that I had now forgiven and forgotten it,
though I confess, at the time, I was very much
hurt, and very much wounded; that as I ne-
ver heard of its being thought a joke in any
country, I was not the least prepared to re-
ceive it in that light; for that, in this coun-
try, ladies never used the expression, and men
only to shew their greatest contempt; that I
never bore malice twelve hours in my life, and
there was an end of the matter. The Fitz-
geralds sat by, sometimes as audience, approv.cruit my strength and avert fainting, as is the
ing by looks; sometimes as orators, begging custom, and the uurse gave me what she
me not to cry (after they had all made me), thought best; by which omission, however,
and praising her Royal Highness as the most I was not subject to faint away, but it was cer-
magnanimous, awiable, good, beautiful, and tainly a new mode of proceeding where life is
gracious Princess in the world. In short, they at stake, and shewed more curiosi'y than ten-
tormented me till they made me quite hysteri
derness for me. Before my little girl was
cal, and the Princess began then to be fright- brought to me, I observed her Royal Highness
ened, and they all got up to look about the stood holding it, that Mrs. Fitzgerald, the
room for hartshorn, or something of that kind nurse, and herself, were all intent, and speak-
to give me the Princess crying, "Give hering together, as if there was something pecu-
liar in its appearance; the circumstance
alarmed me, fearing it was born with some
defect, and I asked eagerly to see it, and if all
was right. The Princess upon this brought it
to me, and said it was a remarkable large fine
child, and they were only looking at a mark it
had upon its left breast, certainly a very large
one, and a little on its eyes, but it would go

something, give her something; she is very
much shook, and her nerves agitated; she
will be taken ill." They gave me some water,
I believe, and I did all I could to recover my
spirits; but I felt in pain, and Sir John came
in soon after, and as I knew it would hurry
him if he saw me ill, I appeared as cheerful
as I could, and they all went away, the Princess
taking no notice to him. Her Royal High-off.
ness had always said, she would be at my
lying in from the beginning to the end, and
commanded me constantly to let her know,
saying, "I have no fear about me, and I
would as soon come over the heath in the
middle of the right as in the day; I shall
have a bottle of port-wine on a table to keep
up your spirits, a tambourine, and I'll make
sing." I was unwell all the night after her
Royal Highness had been with me, and re-
mained so all the next day; and next mora
ing, by six o'clock, was so ill that Doctor
Mackie, of Lewisham, who was to attend me,
was sent for. In he forenoon I begged Sir
John to write a nose to Montague House,
where it so happened I was to have dined with

I recollected that, although I never, when in a pregnant state, was subject to whims, longing, as thinking it very troublesome and foolish, yet I felt obliged, in this instance, to believe the old-received opinion to be correct; for it happened, that during my visit at Montague House in March, I was one Sunday morning very much incommoded by pains in my chest and stomach, and her Royal Highness made Mrs. Sander give me some warm peppermint water; there was raspberryice in the desert the same day, and I had just began to eat mine, when the Princess looked at me, and said, "My dear Lady Douglas, you have forgotten the pain you were in this. moruing;" and, turning to her page, ordered him to take away my plate.


nage it, but never ask me about it; Sander was a good creature, and being immediately about her person and sleeping near her room, must be told; but Miss Garth must be sent to Germany, and the third maid, a young girl,

Mr. Cole, the page, removed the plate, and I can never describe my disappointment; 1 was almost inclined to remonstrate, although there was a large party of strangers, and I did express a desire to retain it, but the Princess would not allow of it: and as she had appoint-kept out of the way as well as they could." I ed herself to the sole management of me, I was suggested, I was afraid her appearance at St. obliged to be quiet: my uneasiness, however, James's could not fail to be observed, and she became extreme, and forgetting every thing would have to encounter all the Royal Fabut the ice in question, I asked a Mr. Hamer, mily. Her reply was, that she knew how to who sat next to me, to be so good as to ask for manage her dress, and by continually increassome ice, and, by dint of asking him to do so, ing large cushions behind, no one would obI at length induced him, and at last he asked serve, and fortunately the birth-days were Lady Townshend for some more ice. I im- over until she should have got rid of her apmediately took my spoon, and stooping a little, pearance. In this manner passed all the time so that the flowers upon the plateau conceal- of my confinement, at the end of which she ed me in part from the Princess, eat all Mr. sent Mrs. Fitzgerald to attend me to church; Hamer's ice, while he looked on laughing, and and when I went to pay my duty to her Royal put his plate a little nearer to me, that it Highness, after I went abroad again, she told might not look so odd. The following day 1 me, whenever I was quite stout, she would eat eight glasses of raspberry-ice at once, and have the child christened, that she meant to was very well after it; and from that time stand in person, and I must find another godsought it every where, and eat of it voracious- mother; Sir Sidney Smith would be the god ly; and I cannot help attributing the marks father. I named the Duchess of Atholl, as a of my little girl to the circumstance. Her very amiable woman, of suitable rank, and Royal Highness then kissed me, begged me said, that as there had been a long friendto send for her whenever I liked, and she would ship betwixt Sir John's family and the Atholl come; desired I might have plenty of flannel family, I knew it would be very agreeable to about me, of which she had sent me some by him. Finding they were gone to Scotland, we Mrs. Fitzgerald, and then went home to din-wrote to ask her Grace; and she wrote word she would stand godmother with great pleasure, and enclosed ten guineas for the nurse. The Princess invited Sir Sidney Smith, and Mr. and Mrs. Spencer Smith, and Baron Herbert, and Sir John Douglas, to dine with her. Miss Cholmondely and the two Fitzgeralds were with her Royal Highness, and in the evening they all came; I staid at home to receive her. The clergyman from Lewisham christened the child; the Princess named it Caroline Sidney. As soon as he was gone (which was shortly after the ceremony was over), the Princess sat down upon the carpeta thing she was very fond of doing, in preference to sitting upon the chairs, saying, it was the pleasantest lively affair altogether she had ever known. She chose to sit upon the carpet the whole evening, while we all sat upon the chairs. Her Royal Highness was dressed in the lace dress which, I think, she wore at Frogmore fete-pearl necklace, bracelets, and armbands, a pearl bandeau round her head, and a long lace veil. When supper was announced, her Royal Highness went in and took the head of the table, and eat an amazing supper of chicken and potted lamprey, which she would have served to her on the same plate, and eat them together. After supper she called the attention of the party to my



I know not what she said or did among her party at home, but Miss Cholmondely often said she should never forget the Princess on that day. All the month of August the Princess visited me daily; in one of these visits, after she had sent Mrs. Fitzgerald away, she drew her chair close to the bed, and said, "I am delighted to see how well and easily you have got through this affair; I, who am not the least nervous, shall make nothing at all of it. When you hear of my having taken children in baskets from poor people, take no notice that is the way I mean to manage: I shall take any that offer, and the one I have will be presented in the same way, which, as I have taken others, will never be thought any thing about." I asked her, how she would ever get it out of the house? but she said," Oh, very easily." I said it was a perilous business; I would go abroad if I were her: but she laughed at my fears, and said she had no doubt but of managing it all very well. I was very glad she did not ask me to assist her, for I was determined in my own mind never to do so, and she never did make any request of me, for which I was very thankful. I put the question to her, who she would get to deliver her? but she did not answer for a minute, and then said," I shall get a person over; I'll ma

[ocr errors]

turns returned home. In about a fortnight we received a note, the Princess requesting neither Sir John or I to go to Montague House, as her servants were afraid some of the children she had taken had the measles, and if any infection remained about the house, we might carry it to our child. We wrote a note expresIsive of our thanks for her obliging precau. tions, and that we would not go to Montague House nntil we had the honour of receiving her Royal Highness's commands. The Princess never sent for us, and when I left my card before I went to pass Christmas in Gloucestershire, I was not admitted, so that I never saw her after the 30th of October; but I heard the report of her having adopted an infant, and Miss Fitzgerald told it me as she rode, past my house, but would not come in, for fear she should bring the measles. Upon my return to Blackheath in January, I called to pay my duty. I found her packing a small black box, and an infant sleeping on the sofa, with a piece of scarlet cloth thrown over it. She


good looks, and saying, I was as lively and espiegle as ever; said, that I had such sharp eyes, I found her out in every thing, adding, "Oh! she found me out one day in such a thing when I was at luncheon, and gave me a look which was so expressive, that I was sure she knew." This speech, understood by herself and me, was algebra to the party. did not know what to do, but I saw the secret cost her dear to keep, and she was ready to betray it to any one she met, by the strange things she said and did: I laughed and said, "if my eyes have been too observing I am sorry, I never intended them to be; I cannot be quite so polite as to say, if my sight of fends I will put it out,' because I think with Sheridan, that the prejudice is strongly in favour of two; but depend upon it, at all future luncheons I will do nothing but eat." She was in great spirits, staid until two o'clock in the morning, and then, attended by Miss Cholmondely and the Fitzgeralds, went home. Her Royal Highness's civilities continued; she desired me constantly to bring my child-appeared confused, and hesitated whether she ren to Montague House, and also the infant; should be rude or kind, but recovering herself, and when I would have retired to suckle it, chose to be the latter; said, she was happy to she would not suffer me, but commanded me see me; and then taking me by the haud led to do it in the drawing room where she was; me to the sofa, and uncovering the child, said and she came with her ladies visiting me hoth "Here is the little boy, I had him two days mornings and evenings, and nursing little after I saw you last; is not it a nice little Caroline for hours together. I saw now the child? the upper part of his face is very fine." Princess had told Mrs. Sander, who, I believe, She was going to have said more, when Mrs. was a very quiet good kind of woman, and her Fitzgerald opened the door and came in. The countenance was full of concern and anxiety. Princess consulted what I had better have, She appeared desirous of speaking to me, aud what would be good for me. I declined any was unusually obsequious; but the Princess thing, but she insisted upon it I should have always watched us both close; if Sander came some soup, and said, “My dear Fitzgerald,pray into a room, and I went towards her, the go out and order some nice brown soup to be Princess came close, or sent one or another brought here for Lady Douglas."` I saw from away, so that I could never speak to her. The this the Princess wished to have spoken to Princess had now quarrelled with Sir Sidney me more fully, and Mrs. Fitzgerald saw it Smith, to whom she had been so partial, and likewise, for instead of obeying, she rúng the to every part of whose family she had been so bell for the soup, and then sat down to tell me kind, telling us constantly that she liked them the whole fable of the child having been all, because old Mr. Smith had saved the Duke brought by a poor woman from Deptford, of Brunswick's life. As Sir John was Sir whose husband had left her; that Mr. StikeSidney's friend, she therefore was shy of us all, man, the page, had the honour of bringing it and we saw little of her-but on the 30th of in; that it was a poor little ill-looking thing October I went to call upon her before I left when first brought, but now, with such great Blackheath, and met her Royal Highness just care, was growing very pretty; and that as returned from church, walking before her own her Royal Highness was so good, and had tahouse with Mrs. Fitzgerald and her daughter, ken the twins (whose father would not let dressed in a long Spanish velvet cloak and an them remain) and had taken this, all the enormous muff, but which together could not poor people would be bringing children.→ conceal the state she was in, for I saw directly The Princess now took the child up, and I she was very near her time, and think I must was entertained the whole morning by seeing have seen it if I had not known her situation. it fed, and every service of every kind performed She appeared morose, and talked a little, but for it by her Royal Highness the Princess of did not ask me to go in, and after taking a few Wales. Mrs. Fitzgerald aired the napkins, and

« PoprzedniaDalej »